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By ESPN Staff
Jun 7, 2006

Rooney heads back with a smile

Wayne Rooney boarded a return flight to Baden-Baden tonight, seemingly given the all-clear to join England's World Cup campaign.

While there was no official confirmation from either the Football Association or Manchester United about the results of the scans which took place at the exclusive BUPA hospital in Manchester today, Rooney's smiles as he left the building, and his short drive to Manchester Airport, suggested Sven-Goran Eriksson's optimism over his star striker's fitness has not been mis-placed.

The broad grin of FA executive director David Davies as he accompanied Rooney out of hospital also suggested the 20-year-old would play a part in England's quest to win the World Cup for the first time since 1966.

Rooney was called back to Whalley Range in mid-afternoon after spending a short time at the home of the parents of his girlfriend Coleen McCloughlin.

The £27million forward spent two hours with respective England and United team doctors Lief Sward and Tony Gill, before emerging for his drive through a mass of security guards, fans and media.

Eriksson had already confirmed Rooney was returning but, so far, there has been no guidance on the precise extent of the striker's recovery from the broken foot he suffered at Chelsea on April 27.

Sir Alex Ferguson, who is also believed to have been involved in this afternoon's discussions, had always insisted it would take Rooney six weeks to recover full fitness.

When the results of his player's previous scan were released two weeks ago, the United boss insisted Rooney would have to be fully recovered before he would release his prize asset.

Having warned Rooney not to rush his recovery bid, photographs of the former Everton star kicking a ball in training on Friday and Monday would no doubt have caused Ferguson some consternation.

However, the speed with which Rooney departed for Germany suggests the Scot is happy with the decision which has eventually been made.

In stark contrast to Ferguson, Eriksson has never hid his belief that Rooney would play some part in the competition, even though it was not thought the forward would be available until the first knockout round on June 24 or 25.

Eriksson said: 'I am confident he will take part in the World Cup and he is 300 per cent confident that he will play.

'I have been saying for one month that I am sure he will take part.

'But I look forward to the point when we don't discuss scans and Rooney's foot anymore.'